Welsh Athletes Ready to take on the Historic Snowdon Marathon Tomorrow
25/10/2019 00:00, I Mewn Blog /
As the countdown continues to one of the UK's most historic and inspirational marathons, the 37th edition of the Snowdonia Marathon Eryri is ready to welcome 3000 runners from all over the world who are set to descend on Llanberis on the Saturday 26th October.
Each year sees a new chapter in this classic Welsh event unfold. 2019 sees a record number of entrants from over 25 countries, each taking on some of the most testing terrain imaginable for a road marathon as they ascend and descend through the scenery of Bwlch Llanberis and Nant Gwynant, and the arduous wall-like climb to Waunfawr, before the final descent into Llanberis.
2018 runner-up Martin Green returns in an attempt to make it onto the podium once again. The North Wales Road Runner ran a perfectly judged race last year, running strongly in the second half to record a 2:43:16 clocking behind Bentley. His 2:30:53 clocking at the London Marathon this year underlined his class, and some impressive and solid performances at a variety of distances in the lead up to the race this year shows that Green will most certainly be amongst the contenders come Saturday.
Welsh international Tom Roberts makes his marathon debut at the race. The Meirionnydd runner has a half marathon PB of 69:12 from earlier in 2019 and has been training hard under the tutorage of Russell Bentley this year. Most recent performances include a sub 70-minute clocking as he won the Shrewsbury Half Marathon in early October. Tom has predicted a time of 2:35, has prepared well for the race and will certainly have the pedigree on the hills to go with the front runners.
Meirionnydd runner Alun Williams also makes his marathon debut at Snowdonia, and after solid 76-minute performance at the Cardiff Half Marathon earlier this month the mountain specialist will revel in any difficult weather conditions. Former third-placer from the 2014 race Harvey Wharton also runs, along with winner of race Trail 10K Wales Jamie Evans from Tywyn, who has recently returned to Wales from Japan.
One very interesting entrant to the 2019 race is former major championships GB international on the track James Thie. Making his marathon debut, James is a sub 4-minute miler and is the current World Masters indoor Champion in the 800m, 1500m & 3000m. The Cardiff-based man is also one of the UK’s foremost coaches, training an elite group out of the Cardiff Met University set-up. Thie also coached Cardiff AC runner Mike Kallenberg to second place in the 2015 Snowdonia Marathon.
Speaking ahead of race James stated:
“I've always wanted to run the full marathon distance but knew I wouldn't have the time to train for a normal city one. The appeal of Snowdonia is the scenery and less focus on my time. When chatting to good friend Lowri Morgan almost a year ago, it seemed a good idea to make the plunge!
“It's going to be a huge challenge, but also as a coach I'm looking to learn a little more about the distance. I've had advice in drinks from Michael Kallenberg who I coached to 2nd in 2015. Plus last year’s champ Russell Bentley has advised on gels, so I’ve got some good advisers!
“How competitive I can be is unknown, I've covered 35km as my longest run, but with other commitments I’ve never had a huge volume week of miles. The fear of the unknown though is quite appealing! As for next Saturday, if I finish it will be longest race and run of my life, and most likely the hardest. I've no real idea if I can be competitive upfront, 2:50ish is my goal-time which can see you inside the top 10 - so either side of this would mean some success - but then so could just finishing!”
In the women’s race 2018 winner Anna Bracegirdle returns in an attempt to retain her crown. 26 year-old Anna stormed through in the second half of the race last year to take the win in 3:05:33 to the delight of the large crowd in Llanberis
The Liverpool-resident races lightly and her 2:52:39 PB performance in Manchester earlier this year and recent win in Aintree show that she is in form. If last year’s victory was a surprise for the Anglesey-woman, this year will see the media attention focus firmly on Anna as the reigning Snowdonia champion!
Snowdonia Marathon legend and former winner Andrea Rowlands is looking to take yet another women's crown. The Eryri Harrier has had another strong season over marathon and ultra-distances and is a brilliant judge of pace in this race, whether this will be enough to overcome Bracegirdle remains to be seen.
The 2019 race will also see the usual one-hour S4C TV highlights package on Sunday evening, and there will also be a Facebook live feed to view. Supporters will be able to keep up-to-date with their chosen runner via the TDL Race Tracker.
Further information can be found on the Snowdon Marathon website.